Lasting Impressions

I first started teaching 4th/5th grade in 1999, the year we moved into our present building.  Many students that year were kids I had as 2nd graders, so we were already well established.  As we settled into our new permanent location, we slowly created functional outdoor features.  One of our first projects was a small . . . Read More


Across the Universe

It’s the time of year when many classes are engaged in deep studies.  Two classes, our Early 3s and Kindergarten, have been immersed in the solar system and outer space.  As part of the study, each kindergartener was given the homework assignment of creating a project.  I love when they arrive at school with these projects, . . . Read More


Bricks in the Oven

 Life on the playground is a constant dance of balancing creativity, exploration, and imagination with plain old safety measures.  We look at it as a fluid process of measuring affordable risks.  We let children (except toddlers) play with sticks and bricks.  Yes, we encourage them to walk when they have sticks in their hands, and . . . Read More


Snakes and Scorpions

Earlier this week I was covering a playground shift and noticed a kindergarten student exploring the outer edges of our outdoor space.  I wandered over and decided to engage him in conversation about the cool shirt he was wearing.  It was brown with a bright green snake on it.  I asked him if he liked . . . Read More


Student Teacher

As you might recall, a few weeks ago during my stint of substitute teaching in the 3rd/4th grade class, we embarked on a study of leaders.  Students selected someone they wanted to learn more about, researched important facts about his/her life, drew a portrait using oil pastels, wrote a poem, and found a quote from . . . Read More


Leaders in Training

I’ve had the privilege of subbing in the 3rd/4th grade class this week.  It’s familiar territory for me, as I spent quite a few years teaching 4th/5th graders in this same room.  I also know the students as a result of being their writing teacher, some of them for 3-4 years.  One of my favorite . . . Read More


Wobbly Mud

Occasionally I have the opportunity to leave my desk and spend time with a class.  This happened with the Prek children on Monday morning.  After a story and snack, we all headed to their outdoor classroom on a beautiful sunny day.  At first I watered the garden, simultaneously keeping an eye on the various activities . . . Read More


Lifelong Foodies

I write this week’s blog from rural Nebraska, where I’m staying for a few days, helping out with my parents.  I collected classroom stories about our nutrition study before I left, and lots of wonderful food experiences have happened since I left.  My intention in writing about the study is to give you a bit . . . Read More


Returning to Ground Zero

We’ve entered our fourth day of school and, all things considered, we’re off to a good start.  We have many wonderful new families, along with our wide range of returning families.  It’s been a delightful experience to see our students back in person who have been at home for the past fifteen months.   Additionally, . . . Read More


Snake Visit

 It was a wildlife day at the Seed.  The morning began with the arrival of Winston, a staff member’s rabbit, who came to visit the toddler playground. He was quite popular with both toddlers and older students as he settled into his makeshift environment. As if that wasn’t enough excitement, the grandfather of two students . . . Read More


Submarine Pickup

On Monday morning, as we were starting another week by conducting health checks on the curb, the father of one of our virtual preschoolers arrived.  “I’m here to pick up the submarine.”  The request caught my attention, as it’s not a typical pickup of materials.  Usually materials picked up for students still learning at home . . . Read More


Seasoned Warriors

Wednesday was Veterans Day.  I held my own personal celebration by calling my 95-year-old father, Jim Kenner.  He’s a veteran and continues to be involved in his local American Legion post.  In fact, he was the recipient of a 75-year continuous service pin in March, right before the pandemic hit.  We were able to be . . . Read More


Passing by Lovely Gardens

 A favorite part of my day is pickup between 3 and 3:20.  Over time, my task has become walking children from their classrooms on the south side of the building to their parents waiting at the gate.  It’s a time to connect with certain children I don’t normally see throughout the day.  Some students are . . . Read More


Hybrid

For many years I’ve thought of the Seed as a hybrid.  Early on, we drew on a variety of approaches to inform our practices.  In graduate school I researched Montessori, Waldorf, and embraced the Whole Language movement.  We’ve studied the constructivist approach, based on Piaget’s theory, and added Love and Logic ® to our toolbox.  . . . Read More


From the Stars

We’re now closing in on our second week of school in its new COVID-era manifestation.  I have to say I’m totally impressed with our teachers who, under incredible responsibility/stress, are making this happen for both our in-person and virtual students.  We still have refinements to make, and we are progressing.  I want to tell you . . . Read More


Cultivating Resilience

Two weeks ago I wrote about our efforts as a staff to do what’s best for kids.  I keep thinking about this topic, and a related one—children’s mental health.  Daily I see articles about this subject, and have concerns that, amidst the focus on academic learning time lost, the mental health piece is not being addressed . . . Read More


Caring for Our Own

A devoted mother dove sits in the nest she built on a small shelf above the hose in our back yard.  She’s been there for nearly two weeks.  There were two eggs originally, and now there is one hatchling, whose eyes are still closed.  I don’t know what happened to the other one.  This mother . . . Read More


Always Sifting Sand

Over the past several weeks I’ve been writing about the playground.  I’ve described its activities, life lessons available, and all the reasons we place so much emphasis on our  extraordinary playground.  When I saw these three toddlers gazing out onto the big playground with a student intern the other day, with their similar bikes parked . . . Read More


Bringers and Builders

 During second recess when elementary kids are on the playground, most of the older students elect to play sports.  On Monday, due to a staffing shift that day, it ended up being a free choice recess.  Several of the 3rd and 4th grade boys headed off to Gwen’s Castle.  They decided to rebuild a fort they’d . . . Read More


Counting Carrots

Exactly a year ago today, I left for India.  It was an adventure that changed my life and is still with me.  The orange-pink sunrise, the smell of rose oil, and the flapping of prayer flags in my back yard all carry me back to India.  Lately I’ve been reflecting on the year that has . . . Read More


On Fire

A few days ago I read a plea for help posted on Facebook by one of our Seed alums. She’s living in Australia.  Her post included a stunning photo of a huge plume of smoke and an article describing the fire as big as Manhattan.  I thought about her post all weekend and decided we . . . Read More


Last Night We Were Brave

Although everyone is moving a bit slower this morning, we’re all feeling the glow of last night’s performance.  The amount of effort that goes into our winter solstice production is unseen by most of our audience.  The vision, patience, and practice that fill up our December weeks came forth last night as we offered an . . . Read More


K-4 at the Seed

 We want you to know about our exceptional K-4 program.  Although we’re just entering our fourth month of the school year, it will soon be time for making decisions about the future.  In order to help families make the most informed decision about elementary school placement, we are offering a K-4 information session on Wednesday, . . . Read More


A Story Line for Each Character

Since late August, I’ve worked with the 3rd/4th graders on their writing once a week.  At the suggestion of their teacher, we jumped into a form of writing that was new to me with this age group, development of a fictional character and creating a story around that character.  In the past, I generally stuck . . . Read More